Former Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) bowler Piyush Chawla feels KKR should bat West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell higher in the batting order. Russell has been with the two-time IPL champions since IPL 2015 and has more often played the role of a finisher with his power-hitting skills.
The 33-year-old aggregates 1821 runs in 72 innings at 31.40 and a strike rate of 179.76. Russell’s unforgettable season was IPL 2019 where he amassed 510 runs in 13 innings at a staggering strike rate of 204.82.
Is KKR overdependent on Andre Russell?
Coming to IPL 2022, Russell took a toll on Punjab Kings bowlers with an unbeaten 31-ball 70, including two fours and eight sixes, to power KKR to a six-wicket win with 33 balls to spare. There was a different case while KKR were chasing 218 against Rajasthan Royals, Russell was cleaned up by Ravichandran Ashwin for a golden duck. Despite Shreyas Iyer’s daunting 85, KKR fell seven runs short in the game.
When Andre Russell perished, it felt like KKR don’t have any batters remaining: Piyush Chawla on RR vs KKR
Chawla, who played 70 IPL matches for KKR, reckoned that the franchise doubts Russell’s promotion in the batting order. The Indian leg-spinner also stressed KKR’s batting performance in the recent games.
“If we talk about the previous game when Andre Russell perished, it felt like they don’t have any batters remaining. They eventually crumbled. They weren’t getting a stable opening stand either, but Aaron Finch played a good knock,” Chawla told ESPNCricinfo.
“Shreyas Iyer looked on and off, however, he batted well and had rhythm. Venkatesh Iyer is yet to score runs and didn’t get too much success opening the innings. He couldn’t make runs batting lower down the order either. That is also a point of concern.
“Both Russell’s and Pandya’s potentials are different. The way Hardik Pandya has adapted to the game, Andre Russell can do as well as and has done before. However, KKR’s thought process is like if Russell goes early, who will stabilize the innings later. Hence, KKR has those doubts,” he added.
KKR will play against Hardik Pandya-led Gujarat Titans on Saturday at Dr DY Patil Sports Academy in Navi Mumbai.